Who would have thought that I’d be here – stranded on the side of a dirt road in semi-rural NSW and wondering if perhaps I would like to live in this neck of the woods? As someone born and raised in the big smoke, I’ve always thought of myself as a city slicker, and yet something’s come over me… maybe I’ve inhaled some weird fumes. There is a fair bit of exhaust smoke pouring out of my car right now, so I wouldn’t rule that out.
Not there aren’t weird fumes aplenty in the city. That’s one point in favour of country life: the air is so much cleaner. At least, it is when you’re not standing next to a smoking car. Then there’s the quiet. I didn’t realise a road could be this quiet. Granted, I’ve noticed that when a car does come by, it tends to really barrel along with an almighty roar and maybe a bit of a skidding sound for good measure. But there’s no constant ‘bip bip bip’ of traffic lights or trains or sirens – just a magpie cawing nearby and the occasional engine revving.
So, what am I doing out here? Well, like I said, my car’s a bit of wreck right now, so I’m waiting to hear back from a mechanic near Queanbeyan. That’s the closest big town to where I’ve broken down. I’m hoping the shop can send someone out here. Actually, I’m hoping they have to tow my ride into town and spend some time working on it, running engine diagnostics or whatnot.
That would give me an opportunity to have a gander at the local real estate. I’m just curious. I mean, would it be so bad to live out here? Lower house prices, space for days, and… I don’t know, presumably some other stuff I can’t think of right now. There’s got to be loads of pros for the list, I reckon, and city life has plenty of cons.
Am I trying to talk myself into this? Or just trying the idea on for size?
I’m the type of guy who doesn’t need anything from anyone, you know? 100% self-sufficiency: that’s the name of my game, and if you don’t like it, that’s not my problem. That’s the thing, right? I don’t need anything from you, and you don’t get anything from me – no favours, no validation and most importantly none of my precious time. I need all of it to devote to my one true love.
That would be my truck, also known as my my one and only. Some people probably think I’m a bit funny in the head, thinking of a hunk of old metal in this way. But like I said, I don’t need anyone’s approval. Besides, it’s not anything weird. It’s just my way of expressing how much I freaking love this truck.
The one exception to my self-sufficiency protocol is when it comes to advice on maintaining the truck, and for that I refer to my mechanic. Around Bentleigh, where I live, there’s a handful of pretty good auto shops, and I’ve checked them all out. None of them stack up to my go-to guy, though. He’s a fully qualified technician but he works out his back shed. I guess he’s a bit of renegade, like me.
A few months back I went for a brake repair near Moorabbin, at one of these other local workshops. They did a perfectly good job – nothing to complain about at all, as far as the work was concerned. The price was okay, too. But something was just… off. I can’t even put my finger on what it was, but I’m sure it had to do with the personality of the technicians.
I think it’s that, if I’m going to go to someone for help, I need them to be on my wavelength – sympatico, you know? I can just feel it in the way the truck handles when it’s been worked on by this one dude.
I’m staying in a hotel with my family on holidays. I’m the mother of three children (and a man child who I call my husband). I love my family but they’re definitely a handful and they don’t always listen to me. The most recent example of my family failing to do as I say and acting like morons (for lack of a better word) was yesterday.
My husband and my three children were kicking the football inside the hotel room. I warned them at least five times to stop what they were doing and take the football down to the pool area, but of course, they didn’t listen. Instead, my husband kicked the ball too hard for my youngest child to catch it and it hit the window and cracked it. My husband genuinely cracked the glass in a hotel room costing us $500 per night. It’s safe to say that I’m furious.
I refused to talk to the hotel staff about it and made my husband walk downstairs with my children to tell them we need a glass repair. Melbourne hotels are some of the best in Australia, so when they asked us how the glass cracked we had to lie. If they had found out what we were doing we would have been kicked out of the hotel. Instead, we agreed to have the glass repaired and they moved us to a different room.
As we were moving all our belongings from the top floor to halfway down the building, I was very aware of the glass stairs. My family were all carrying a suitcase each and the wheels were often hitting the sides of the stairs. I was just praying that a wheel wouldn’t hit the stairs too hard and put another crack in the glass. The last thing we need is to pay for a stair balustrade on top of the glass repair.
I just wish my husband, and my kids to a lesser extent, would grow up. This could have been so preventable.